Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Sansa I

“Sansa already looked her best. She had brushed out her long auburn hair until it shone, and picked her nicest blue silks. She had been looking forward today for more than a week. It was a great honor to ride with the queen, and besides Prince Joffrey might be there. Her betrothed. Just thinking it made her feel a strange fluttering inside…Sansa did not really know Joffrey yet, but she was already in love with him. He was all she ever dreamt her prince should be.”

“Sansa could not take her eyes off the third man…a terror as overwhelming as anything Sansa Stark had ever felt filled her suddenly…The queen had descended from the wheelhouse. The spectators parted to make way for her. “If the wicked do not fear the King’s Justice, you have put the wrong man in the office.”

Synopsis: “Once upon a time,” Sansa Stark readies herself for a special day with Queen Cersei and Princess Myrcella, and fails to come to an understanding with her sister Arya over the relative merits of the countryside, riding, lemon cakes, and the royal prerogative. On her way to the royal wheelhouse, she meets  Ser Barristan Selmy and Renly Baratheon, but Ilyn Payne and Sandor Clegane make more of an impression. To recover from this shock, her fiancé takes her out for a ride and nothing bad or fateful happens at all.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

Political Analysis:

I wasn’t sure at first how to approach this chapter, since virtually nothing political actually happens and I wanted to think through the historical questions thoroughly. It also doesn’t help that Sansa Stark is one of the more controversial protagonists in the series, with a significant hatedom. There’s a reason why Sansa Stark is so controversial (besides her fateful decision to prize her loyalty to her Prince over her loyalty to her father): she is a deconstruction of the romantic tendency within fantasy genre as a fundamentally reactionary force. By this point, it’s not a very original thought, I know. A lot of people have pointed out that we’re supposed to find Sansa annoying because Sansa has been raised up to be what a Disney Princess would be in real life – naive to the point of obliviousness, ignorant and incurious, superficial both in the sense of being obsessed about her own appearance and judging others largely on theirs, and (to us) unbelievably passive – and that George R.R Martin is criticizing how gender is presented in fantasy. While it’s absolutely true that the romantic tendency has particular poisonous heritages when it comes to gender and race (and as I’ll discuss later, class as well), I think George R.R Martin is also critiquing the central concepts of the romantic tradition. Consider some of the things that Sansa believes because she has learned them through stories:

  • Kings and Queens (and Princes) are inherently good and therefore deserve to be in power, and shouldn’t be questioned. We can see this most clearly in Sansa’s hero-worship of Queen Cersei, where she finds it difficult to conceive of refusing the Queen or even disliking her personally. This diverges quite a bit from her father’s more paternalistic conception of rulership, in which there’s a sense of an implicit social contract where the ruler should know his people and look out for their interest, which Arya is shown as having championed (more on this later).
  • Beauty = Goodness. Sansa thoroughly believes that appearance and inner nature are one and the same; the good are beautiful and graceful, immorality is seen in the unsightly face of the wicked. Throughout this chapter, we see Sansa using this precept as her guide: it’s a huge part of her problems with her sister (Arya isn’t just plain-faced, but she’s messy and most importantly disorderly, and therefore slightly dangerous), it greatly influences her belief that Sandor Clegane is a “baddie” (just like the dastardly Ser Morgil) and Joffrey must be a gallant knight because he’s handsome, and it’s part of the reason why she reacts to Queen Cersei differently from King Robert (who no longer looks like a king ought).
  • Good Things Happen to Good People. This comes up most often in Sansa’s fantasies of romantic tableaux of what should happen (a lovely day in the Queen’s wheelhouse, a romantic ride with her Prince) and her anger and confusion when outside forces conspire to ruin things for her. Beyond the obvious naivete of this belief, there’s a subtle conservativism here – unlike Arya, Sansa never really reacts to the fact that Mycah is mutilated at the hand of her Prince and later executed by the Hound; rather, her anger comes out when punishment is meted out on the “good dog.” In other words, the consequence of this kind of thinking is that it makes people accepting of suffering and injustice (bad things are happening to Mycah, therefore he must be bad, you can tell because he’s a dirty commoner) as well as passive.

These are ideas go beyond the problematic. To begin with, they lead to bad consequences, not just by the end of Game of Thrones where her father is murdered and Sansa becomes an abused captive, but almost immediately. Beyond that, I think George R.R Martin is arguing that they convince people to not just accept injustice as inevitable but to see the same act as just, and that they have done so in the past – because they are many of the same romantic ideals that legitimated the feudal order.

Historically, the ideal of chivalry was concocted to paper over a crisis in Western society that had emerged in the early Middle Ages: the Carolingian system, where a strong monarch would grant fiefdoms for loyal service, had the power to retract them for disloyalty, and received them back when the current titleholder died (thus allowing the central authority to enforce loyalty by keeping titleholders anxious about keeping their grants and non-titleholders believing that loyal service might get them lands) had broken down in favor of inherited lands that now left thousands of trained heavy cavalrymen destitute, with no central government to restrain them. The promulgation of the Catholic Church’s doctrine of Just War and Just Peace was intended to protect the lands and persons of the Church itself, with women and children tacked on very much as an afterthought. Critically, the prohibition on violence towards women and children largely applied to the nobility, who being “gently born” should be treated gently; the killing or robbery of the peasantry continued apace.

Likewise, the ideal of courtly love was designed to reconcile Marianism within the Church, the problematic role of landed and thus powerful women in a society that treated women as chattel, and the tension between the medieval Church’s impossible ideas about sex and marriage on the one hand, and on the other. The whole thing, which in some ways continues through to the logic behind of “rom coms,” is actually a weird parable about adultery rather than a stable relationship. Courtly love treats a breach in the social order as an acceptable inversion of power relations by filtering the whole thing through the lens of feudalism. The woman, who ensnares a man via attraction and then worship from afar, is declared the man’s liege lord, which is then followed by a ritual rejection. The knight, being rejected, falls literally love-sick to the point of death (a symbolic punishment for his destabilizing, excessive lust), and must then do heroic deeds in order to prove himself to his lady(again, echoing a knight’s service to his liege lord) before he is finally allowed consummation. And consummation occurs, it must be followed by subterfuge  discovery, and death, so the natural order is restored. In other words, stories of courtly love allowed vicarious enjoyment of adultery while repeatedly reinforcing that breaking the rules = death; romance requires tragedy to elevate above sin.  And again, lest we forget, none of this applies to 90% of women who don’t count as ladies. Finally, the idea that there are such things as good and “rightful” kings and “true” knights  is an endorsement, however subtle, that the social order of feudalism is good and righteous and in some way ordained by God (when you consider that kings and knights both undergo ceremonies where they are specially anointed and denoted as agents of the divine), and that any attempt to change this would violate the Great Chain of Being. And this idea, which is so often accepted at face value within traditional “high” Fantasy (you can see equally cursory thinking about this when it comes to such disparate phenomena as the Star Wars movies, the Disney Princess franchise, or the Return of the King), is one that condemns 90%+ of the population as property, virtual property, or lesser kinds of men than those of “noble blood.” If you’re of European origin or nationality, chances are that would have meant you. And sure enough, the one peasant who appears in this chapter receives the full brunt of medieval justice from “good” King Robert in the form of the Hound.

And at the end of the day, what happens in the very first chapter? The handsome prince turns into a date-rapey, sadistic psychopath and coward; the Good Queen turns into a vindictive, manipulative would-be tyrant; the Good King accepts an injustice in his name; and the knights either stand around or run down the only named peasant we meet this chapter, who dies in the name of royal injustice.

Historical Analysis:

Finding historical parallels for young women in medieval societies isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, in Sansa’s case, I think the best historical parallel is Anne Neville. The daughter of a powerful Northern lord, himself Edward IV’s Hand of the King in all but name and renowned as a man who took it upon himself to decide who would become King of England, Anne Neville was engaged at various times both to Prince Edward of Lancaster and Richard (later the III), Duke of York. Like Sansa torn between her captivity and marriage into the House of Lannister, Anne Neville found herself split between the House of Lancaster and the House of York; and just as Sansa found herself married to a skilled administrator with bad publicity and a rumored deformity, Anne Neville found herself married to Richard III, that much-maligned and recently-disinterred monarch. If anything, this should make us even more sympathetic to Sansa’s situation. Both in literature and history, noblewomen were used both as marriage tokens and hostages (although the difference between the two is hard to spot).  Far more worldly, willful, and experienced women than Sansa found their agency and free will curtailed at the hands of their enemies and their families.

What If?

Oddly enough, the decision of Sansa to skive off with Joffrey and eventually go walking down by the riverbank is actually one of the more important turning points in Game of Thrones. The intersection of Arya, Sansa, Joffrey, Mycah, and Nymeria have huge consequences that ripple outwards through the rest of the series. And, like many events revolving around violence and children, there are many potential outcomes, none of them good.

  • What If Joffrey had connected with his sword? Either killing or seriously wounding Arya had the potential to massively shift the plot. Had this happened, the Stark-Baratheon marriage is off, and probably Eddard Stark’s Handship as well. This changes the political calculus dramatically – Robert’s out a Hand, and the Starks are out of pocket (which makes life difficult for Renly, but also for the Lannisters since the Starks start out less exposed, and Varys and Littlefinger no longer have a Hand to steer).
  • What If Joffrey dies? Cersei goes on a rampage, which could start a hot war right on the spot, but the long-term picture is problematic. She could get away with rushing the coronation of Joffrey to forestall Eddard Stark, but no one is going to buy Tommen in charge, which means she can’t get rid of Robert anytime soon. On the other hand, without a sneering psychopath on the Throne, the people of King’s Landing might be less rebellious – or might direct their hatred entirely towards the “evil councilors,” allowing Cersei more leverage to dump Hands and/or Small Councils.
  • What If Lady is there, or survives? If Lady is on the spot and acts protectively when Joffrey loses his temper, it’s possible that Joffrey gets backed off without serious harm. This probably defuses the immediate crisis, as no one’s going to kill butcher’s boys or wolves because of a stick to the back. At the same time, Lady surviving and/or Nymeria not being driven off has some interesting possibilities down the line: if Nymeria is on the scene when Syrio and Arya’s last lesson gets interrupted, there’s a shot that Syrio’s death gets butterflied and Arya gets out of King’s Landing at least a couple days earlier than OTL. Likewise, the survival of Lady could mean that Sansa now has the wolf equivalent of a one-shot pistol in dealing with the many threats of violence she’s faced with immediately after Cersei’s coup.

Book vs. TV:

The differences between the book and the show for this chapter aren’t that many: Arya and Sansa’s conversation about looking for Rhaegar’s rubies was filmed for auditions but never used (perhaps for time reasons?) which means we get less of the sisters’ interactions. Joffrey’s violence is toned down significantly; in the book, he goes for Arya in a sustained and deliberate attempt on her life, backing her all the way up to the tree-line.

The biggest difference I’d say is how we’re introduced to Renly. To begin with, in the book, Renly appears in this very different context and is immediately set up as a character the audience identifies with (he’s funny, he’s mocking the Lannisters at their most hateful), and  he’s set up as an opponent to Cersei and Joffrey. In my opinion, this makes his offer to Eddard seem more promising, and would have heightened the reaction when he’s killed by Melisandre. Even more than his introduction, the change in his personality and appearance is quite dramatic. In the first book, Renly is portrayed as a young Robert, butch and warrior-like, perhaps a  bit dandyish in his love of fine clothes and snarky putdowns, but much more conventionally masculine. At least in my eyes, this is actually a much more subversive portrayal – George R.R Martin sets up the very image of a “Good King,” literally Robert stripped of his flaws and his realism, and then in Book 2 gives him a massive army ready to save the day, a beautiful queen, a band of heroic knights, everything short of a Round Table, and then upends your expectations completely. The (mostly) macho warrior turns out to be gay and masculine at the same time, the “good King” turns out to be just as underhanded and scheming as anyone else, his marriage is a quasi-incestuous fraud, and everything is going to fall apart.


54 thoughts on “Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Sansa I

  1. gratefulwho says:

    MY MAN! You’re back buddy!

  2. gratefulwho says:

    also it was excellent

    • stevenattewell says:

      Thanks. I had this thing about 1/2 done for four months, but was too busy. Decided to just get it out there so it would stop bothering me.

  3. Furious George says:

    Great post, love seeing it after so long. Surely we can say that Robert’s marriage was more than a “QUASI-incestuous fraud”, no?

  4. Mer says:

    Sansa is one of my favorite characters, and we know I have strong feminist leanings. People hate her because she’s not Arya or Brianne. But she’s not them, and she believes (and is trapped) in the overarching system of her own history, position, worldview, culture, etc. That is to say, her community. And why shouldn’t she have faith in it? Don’t we have faith in a lot of socially constructed ideas and ideologies that appear natural and normal to us? Sansa makes the best of her position, and has faith that her faith will eventually turn the tide in her favor. Its like when people get behind a political campaign. The politician might have let us down in the past, but if we still believe in the structure of our system of governance, we might keep voting and campaigning for our candidate with faith that our he or she will redeem him or herself. Its not all people who can write in a third party (Brianne) or live off the grid (Arya), so to speak. Sansa works with what she has. She is that quintessential bride/captive: she is constrained by many circumstances, but she also enacts agency within her situation. The very concept of agency is finding mobility in the circumstances that might otherwise oppress us. While those acts of agency might be minor, they demonstrate that she has control over herself and her will and her lot in life. Plus, I think she’s getting a little more clever about how to play the game she has chosen to exist in.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Not that I disagree in the slightest, but to play devil’s advocate for a second – Olenna, Margaery, quite a few of the Martell women (although they live by slightly different social norms), Genna Lannister, and several other characters find ways to work the system without challenging it head-on.

      I do think that Sansa is undergoing a significant change, however, and that by the end of the series, people’s views will have changed when they see the whole arc.

      • scarlett45 says:

        One of the things I love about this series, is that we have the chance to explore different types of female characters, many of whom are equally compelling in vastly different ways.

      • ArabellaVidal says:

        I believe that Sansa and Arya’s upbringing might have something to do with that. Sansa is easily Catelyn’s favourite daughter. She seems to have had more time for Sansa and with her inheritance of Tully looks she is a reminder of home in Riverrrun. Though Catelyn accepts the North and their customs and gods she doesn’t completely fit into them. After all, Ned had to have a septry built for her. So Sansa is brought up Catelyn Tully style. Plus I think having a female friend her own age, one whose social status is inferior to Sansa’s and who is thus anxious to fit into the lady-of-the-house’s ideals, she would encourage Sansa to conform to those ‘southron’ ideals. Arya does not have the same rapport with Catelyn. It’s been some time since I read AGoT but I always had the impression that Arya and Jon were outcasts within the family and that is why they had a special connection. Ned’s interactions with Arya also show that she has a special place in his heart for her. He tells her she is lovely like Lyanna and encourages her to learn to fight with a sword. She seems to identify more with the men in her family because of this and is therefore a tomboy. Besides I think that the examples you’ve given here are of women with political savvy which both sisters lack, IMHO. But they’re learning.

      • stevenattewell says:

        Arabella – yes. I didn’t have space to point this out in the piece, but if Sansa plays the traditional role of the princess in fairytales/folklore, Arya is playing the role of the *prince*. Even the dirty, trouble-making stuff feeds into the idea of the “swineherd prince,” the nobleman in disguise. And Arya goes through her own process of disillusionment in Clash of Kings and Storm of Swords when her idea that brave waterdancers can triumph against great odds is trampled into the mud.

    • scarlett45 says:

      I agree with your post! I find Sansa a fascinating character.

      • weaselteasew says:

        I have also found Sansa far more fascinating and sympathetic upon re-reads. One of the scenes that stood out for me in this chapter is her “naming” of Selmy and Renly without having met them before. It reminded me of the scene at Joffrey’s wedding where Tyion notices her skill with people, and muses that she would have made a good queen for Joffrey… and of later scenes where she is playing hostess for Littlefinger at the Eyrie. It calls back to some of Catelyn’s political acumen and training. It seems to me that Sansa was grossly naive about what if fully meant to be a queen, but in ways she imagined the job to be she was incredibly well skilled.

  5. Brett says:

    I’ve found that I’m much more sympathetic to Sansa when re-reading the books. There’s a particularly good bit in one of her later chapters where she gets “drunk” on the revelry and pure awesomeness (in a 12-year old girl’s eyes) of the Hand’s Tournament, which on re-read made me understand much better why she impulsively ran off to Cersei in anger when Ned threatened to end the betrothal and take her back to Winterfell.

  6. Dave says:

    THANK YOU and welcome back. This is an excellent and highly entertaining series!

  7. Knecht says:

    Welcome back Stevan, we missed you! Great analysis, really enjoyed it.

  8. John W says:

    Welcome back.

  9. jazzbumpa says:

    I was never a Sansa hater, but I certainly wasn’t a fan. Other commenters have pointed out her good points, and I agree. She starts out very not only having swallowed a whole romantic mythos entact, but also extremely naive, quite selfish, and an intolerant big sister. Not too untypical of what one might of someone of her age and upbringing.

    She is probably the exact duplicate of a young Catelyn.

    Her growth and development through the series is a pretty interesting plot line. I’ve developed some appreciation for her.


    • stevenattewell says:

      Maybe more a young Lysa than a young Catelyn. I have the feeling that Catelyn was the proper and sensible older sister to her flightier sibling.

  10. […] anyone didn’t get that Sansa’s POV chapters are a deconstruction of romanticism after this chapter, there really is no hope for them. Honestly, I kept laughing during this […]

  11. […] the theme of romanticism, which I’ve discussed at length in the previous two Sansa chapters. At this point in her life, Sansa thinks that Loras should be the one sent out […]

  12. […] Sansa I through Sansa III are a deconstruction of romantic medievalism, then Sansa IV is right at the […]

  13. Mathias says:

    He’s called Mycah.
    Thanks, though, for the great analyses!

  14. Andrew says:

    Why Star Wars? I don’t see Luke or Leia ruling as monarchs or as the leaders of the New Republic/Rebel Alliance.

    • Force aptitude is genetic, Luke and Leia are royalty both of Naboo and Alderaan, the good people are handsome whereas Darth Vader and the Emperor are withered by evil, etc.

      • Grant says:

        Not sure this holds up quite that well…depending on the scope of the reading, the Skywalker line with the forcey genetic stuff came from humble beginnings, and Padme had nothing to do with that part…and Leia was Alderaanian nobility through adoption, not blood. Even so, the Naboo aristocracy seems to be elected, giving the idea that Padme earned her position, rather than inheriting it. The whole princess thing with Leia could easily have been replaced with ‘senator’, and would have worked just as well…my own supposition is that she is called ‘Princess’ because Lucas is a hack writer when it comes to a lot of stuff, and it probably sounded good at the time, to be back filled and explained later as necessary (like parsecs). I never quite understood how the daughter of a senator is titled princess, though I guess one must assume that Alderaan has a similar political system to Naboo and the titles are conflated because then the narrative is not broken. 🙂

        Regarding the congruity of looks with goodness or evilness…the majority of bad guys were clean cut, whereas the rebels were dirty and heterogeneous and a bunch of them were kooky looking aliens, and the bad guys are eventually brought down by the lowliest of primitives. At least this is a subversion of the shallow romantic ideal, and at most it is a broad statement about the place of the masses…THEY are the heros as much as the main characters, as evidenced by the last shot of the family portrait, which is littered with filthy ewoks running around yub-nubbing.

        More generally though…is the hero’s journey thought of as a romantic notion? The literary traditions are one way of looking at movements over time, but the monomyth upon which SW is explicitly based is a structural template, not a stylistic one.

  15. jack says:

    There is one What If? that was missed. What if Arya went with Sansa to the ride with the Cersei? How was Arya able to ignore a personal invitation from the Queen? The one thing the Ned seemed to understand till King’s Landing, or until GRRM needed him to be completely isolated so Ned can depend on Littlefingers, was the importance personal relations can have on larger politics. I know that Ned does give Arya far more independence than one would expect, but i do not see how he would have allowed Arya to ignore Cersei.

    I am glad you put Lady there as a What If? The reoccurring chain direwolves=death and destruction was pushing credibility here, and yet has some how happened in every book that a stark and direwolf is in the same place. Saying that couldn’t something as simple as both of them showing up to ride with the queen have an even larger impact than Lady being there.

    • I think Arya was allowed to ignore the queen’s invitation because it’s not a royal command, and she’s a child and therefore not important. Sansa thinks it’s a big deal, but I doubt Cersei gave it a second thought.

  16. […] meant to keep song birds in their cage, and to deny the monstrous reality behind the illusions of medieval romanticism. This builds on top of his earlier arguments about the ideals of knighthood as they apply to his […]

  17. […] I’ve touched briefly in the past on the concept of a just war, which is pretty closely tied in with the idea of defeated soldiers being allowed to […]

  18. […] brutality for brutality’s sake. As I’ve argued, GRRM remains at core something of a romantic, but a romantic in an existentialist vein, someone who is willing to see the gaps between the ideal […]

  19. […] the Tall), and the traditions of chivalry and courtly love are pretty fictions stretched over gendered oppression and domestic […]

  20. […] If in the past I have alluded to Sansa’s plotline in ACOK of abuse and survival, here is where that theme really forces itself to the forefront. Just as the strategic decisions of Tywin Lannister have come crashing down on Arya’s head, Joffrey makes Sansa pay the price for Robb Stark’s victory, in much the same way that an abuser today might have a bad day at work and make themselves feel better by beating their partner. George R.R Martin doesn’t do this lightly or pruriently – rather, this violence is an intrinsic part of a larger deconstruction of chivalry. […]

  21. Fantastic analysis. I actually just reread that Sansa chapter myself in my attempt to piece together a bigger picture and seek clues for what might unfold. Martin has woven so much into this narrative that it’s a lifelong task to unravel.

  22. […] precisely with George R.R Martin’s interest in the “human heart at war with itself,” and his deconstructionist approach to fantasy. Fantasy is absolutely littered with Chosen One figures whose metaphysical transformation and/or […]

  23. […] is immensely cathartic; someone is finally standing up to Joffrey, really for the first time since Sansa I of AGOT, and calling out the false knights who have shown themselves not only to be abusers, but cowards as […]

  24. […] the absolute pinnacle of this in medieval Europe was the trope of abduction in stories of courtly love and chivalric romance. The two variants of the trope – the PG-13 version in which the fair maid is abducted and […]

  25. I think the people who hate on Sansa miss how immensely relevant she is to the deconstruction of conventional romance tropes. I also think the fact that she was raised to be that way is lost in Arya worship because the younger Stark sister is the (quickly becoming cliched) Action Girl who eschews stereotypical feminine traits and is more tomboyish. Brienne, too, can fall into this trap. This is not to say that I don’t like both of these characters, but many who laud Arya and Brienne but vilify Sansa miss the point that it is possible to be feminine and relevant, a fact that really shouldn’t need to be said. Just because you can’t wield a sword, it doesn’t mean you can’t use witticisms or “courtesy as your shield,” which is what Sansa learns to do. Her power comes in a much more subtle way as she is stripped (both literally and figuratively) of all she is and once believed. I love that you examine this so thoroughly. Beauty Equals Goodness is one of my favorite tropes to manipulate and examine. I’ve written near treatises on it by this point since it pervades not only fictional narratives, but real world ones, as well.

  26. […] Just like his fellow Kingsguard Jaime, Sandor sees himself as a truth-teller, who sees past the illusion of chivalry meant to put a kindly face on a warrior hierarchy founded on the threat and use of violence against […]

  27. […] substitute – which makes Arya taking his first sword and throwing it in the river even more emasculating – but given the context of his stripping her in the throne room, his fascination with […]

  28. […] boy disguise initially wins him the disdain of the lady Lynette. But as with Sansa’s story throughout the series, GRRM is doing a bit of subversion here. Sandor is simultaneously Sansa’s would-be rescuer […]

  29. […] While on the surface this does seem like Sansa’s spinning her wheels – she’s still a prisoner in the Red Keep, she’s still in danger of horrific abuse from Joffrey – I would argue that, underneath, there’s an enormous amount of character and thematic growth here. To begin with, I think endurance and resistance can be a form of growth; as we see through Sansa’s interior dialogue here, she has managed to escape her position as Joffrey’s kidnapped-bride and has successfully resisted every attempt to break her will and make her accept said position. Cersei may have “warned her; no matter what she felt inside, the face she showed the world must look distraught,” but inside Sansa remains free to despise Cersei’s darling boy. That’s a level of strength of will and self-knowledge that she simply didn’t have in Sansa I of AGOT. […]

  30. […] doing a re-read. However, thinking about it I’m astonished that it all comes back to Sansa I of AGOT, where Sansa finally tells the truth of what happened along the Kingsroad. Two books later to the […]

  31. […] of real, flawed, individual humanity, but it also makes the important point that (contrary to fairytale ethics, you don’t need to be Disney-level virtuous to be worthy of protection from the Brave […]

  32. […] work as mirrors for Sansa, showing how different she really is from how we first encountered her in AGOT and how much of the fandom can’t stop seeing […]

  33. John says:

    I’m surprised you say there is nothing political in this chapter. I would have thought that striking a prince of the royal blood was an extremely political act (even if not intended to be). Perhaps you will discuss this in your next post. I love your historical commentary!

  34. […] and inhuman, as the fae should be. (Yet further evidence of GRRM’s running theme that beauty≠ goodness.) It is precisely that inhuman grace that undoes the work of Grenn and Small Paul: fire […]

  35. […] from the outset, the Bloody Mummers jump from undermining the custom of ransoms to overlooking the rules of chivalry in favor of sexually assaulting a highborn […]

  36. […] This is where I feel it’s very easy to draw the wrong conclusion about both who we’re supposed to side with in this argument, and about who George R.R Martin is as a writer and a thinker, because this chapter very much shows the Romantic and Deconstructionist sides of his mind at war with one another. I think it would be a mistake, however, to assume from this passage or the series as a whole that Martin the Deconstructor is the true reading of the series, and to discount Romanticism entirely as an illusion and a fraud. […]

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